Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things
An Impossible Journey From Kabul to ChiapasBook - 2005
FOR THIRTY YEARS, Gary Geddes has lived with his shadow self, an obscure 5th-century Buddhist monk named Huishen, whose legend shanghaied his vivid imagination. Huishen, originally from Kabul, Afghanistan, reportedly sailed from China to Vancouver Island, continuing southward to Mexico. In a journey to recreate the travels of Huishen, Geddes finds himself not only struggling to cross the ancient barriers of the Himalayas, the Taklamakan Desert, the Pacific Ocean and the jungles of Central America, but also gingerly picking his way through Taliban landmines and Chinese and Zapatista politics.
From Afghan refugees to Tibetan monks and the ghost of Quetzalcoatl in Mexico, Geddes encounters a host of quirky characters and fast friends--none so compelling and insistent as the voice of Huishen, who speaks to him mysteriously across the centuries. But not even Huishen could imagine the events of 9/11, which transform Geddes' journey beyond a quest for an elusive monk, into an exploration of the ways in which we learn to interpret history.
Sacred, profane and richly comic, Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things (a Chinese term for life itself) is a remarkable personal odyssey, a cornucopia of adventure, philosophy and hearsay, a book that will disarm and delight while provoking debate: just who got here first, anyway?